Sunday, March 27, 2011


"Dallas Blooms"
Dallas Arboretum, Spring 2011

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day
he created Spring.
~Bern Williams~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yoke Overlay

My days are currently filled with boxes, packing and very little stitching.
My mind is filled with ideas for Spring and Summer sewing.  I just hope I can remember them when I finally have time to sit in front of the machine!
In the meantime, I decided to share a little dress made a few years ago.
It is just as sweet today, as it was then.
Love that!

The floral fabric from Fabric Finders is no longer available.  The Swiss Edging from Capitol Imports is still available, along with the pattern Baby Square Yokes by Chery Williams.

Making a yoke overlay is a wonderful way to use small pieces of exquisite edgings.
A lovely handkerchief, perhaps passed down through the family, could also be used.
Embroidered fingertip towels, napkins or other vintage linens would also make sweet overlays.

To prevent the floral fabric from shadowing through, I selected a solid white fabric for the dress yoke.
I bound the neck and sleeves, and piped the yoke/skirt seam with blue and white gingham.

Once again, I used gingham for the continuous placket on the skirt.
Just another little special touch on a very special little dress!

Back to packing and thinking of all the things I would rather be stitching!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


We must believe that God permits failure --
that a loving God permits hard things;
because the hard things bring the greatest victories,
the deepest lessons,
the most lasting changes.
~Carole Mayhall~

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Better to See With

I recently received my new glasses from the Mayo Optical Shop!
My prescription changed drastically following the recent eye muscle surgeries, and I can really tell a difference with these.  They do not help with the dark blobs and spots I still experience with my left eye, but overall my vision is greatly improved!
I am also relieved the lenses are not nearly as thick as I feared.  It is amazing what can be accomplished with today's technology and resources.
They are made in France by Dilem.  Around the lenses, they are brushed copper. 
The really cool part are the temples which are interchangeable.
My first choices are rather subdued, except for one pair.
The pair on the glasses, in the photo above, is burgundy.
The second pair is black, with cross hatching in shades of camel and brown.
The third pair is bright turquoise with brown swirls.
The temples are very easy to snap on and off.  The first time was a little frightening.  I had visions of everything snapping into pieces.
I already have plans to select a few more patterns and colors.

Earlier this week, a reader left a comment inquiring about my eye problems.  Since I had no way to contact her directly, I will answer here and hope she reads it.
Approximately seven years ago, I was first diagnosed as hypothyroid.  My thyroid did not produce enough thyroid hormone, and I was placed on Synthroid.  For almost five years, I had absolutely no problems and my levels remained constant.  I was seen on a regular basis for check-ups and blood labs.
At some point between check-ups, my thyroid reverted and began producing too much hormone.  It happened gradually, and was not noticeable until the symptoms became quite severe.  I experienced heart palpitations, chest and jaw pain, tremors of the hands, feet and legs, shortness of breath and great fatigue.  At approximately the same time, my eyes began to ache and became very sensitive to light.
I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.  There is no history of it in my family.  It is often caused by a viral infection or external factor.  In my case, they believe it could well have been stress.  My thyroid became enlarged and fibrous.  It was surgically removed, due to its size and concern over suspicious spots on the gland.
Following surgery, my eyes seemed to ache less, and my physicians were quite optimistic that I had escaped any severe vision problems.  The outward symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease are swelling and bulging of the eyes.  I exhibited none of that. 
Approximately six months after the removal of my thyroid, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Eye Disease.
It is my understanding not all persons with Graves Disease will experience vision or eye problems.
Not all Thyroid Eye Disease patients experience the type of thyroid problems I did.
My best advise is to be seen by a competent endocrinologist and ophthamologist if you ever have any concerns.  I discounted some of my earliest symptoms as age or stress related, and did not seek medical care between scheduled check-ups as quickly as I should have.  None of us like to visit doctors -- and in particular specialists -- but sometimes it may be what saves your life or your vision.

On a sweeter note, have you heard about the banana pudding milkshakes at Chick Fil A?
Many of you already know I was a huge fan of the chocolate peppermint shakes.  Sadly, they are no longer served.  These are good, but I really miss the chocolate peppermint variety.  Perhaps it is for the best.  With the quickly approaching season for shorts and swimsuits, milkshakes may not be my figure's best friend!

Have a great Friday and weekend! 

A reader asked if I had prisms in my glasses.  I do not.  The type of double vision I have could not be corrected with prisms.  The muscle eye surgery that I underwent in December corrected the majority of the double vision.  I still have double vision when looking certain directions, or if I am tired.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Out of Fabric?

Check your pantry!
Last week, during a quick trip into town for an appointment, I also made a dash through the Dallas Quilt Celebration.  This quilt by Michelle Knoerzer was titled "The Next Phase of Its Life".  It was constructed of Lay potato chip bags -- and very difficult to photograph due to the reflective nature of the "material".

I normally gravitate toward the traditional quilts.  Ones that remind me of those made by my grandmother.
However, there was a contemporary one that really stopped me in my tracks.

Heather Pregger created "Strip Study #2".
I loved the colors and use of very simple shapes to create such a piece of art.
The colors were much more vivid than my camera was able to capture, due in part to the overhead fluorescent lights.
The machine quilting, in straight close lines across the width, added great texture.

The Best of Show winner this year was truly spectacular!

Linda M. Roy named her winning quilt "Icing on the Cake".
It was completely handstitched.

The quilt incorporated appliques and hand embroidery in shades of coral, blue and green on a dark chocolate brown tone-on-tone fabric.

It truly was the icing on the cake!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dirty Hands, Happy Heart

Besides playing with fine fabrics and lace, I also love playing in the dirt!
Some might refer to it as gardening or working in the yard.
It has been almost two years since I was able to do this.

When the thyroid disease first began, a high heart rate prevented me from doing much.
Last summer, I learned double vision, combined with sharp gardening tools, could be damaging and deadly to both human and plant life.

Once again, I can play in the dirt!

Not only was I prevented from  gardening these past two years, my husband was unable to much.  He had his own health issues, and was often taking care of me.
Yesterday, we took advantage of warm temperatures, grabbed gardening tools and went to work!
Due to a more harsh winter than usual, and two years of neglect, there was plenty to do.
The deadwood was removed from my hydrangeas above.  The roses were finally pruned, along with other trees and shrubs.  Lots and lots of leaves were raked.

Good thing Mondays are pick-up for garden recycling and bulk trash.
There is still lots of work to do, and hopefully more warm Spring days to come.
Don't worry.
There was lots of soap and water, before I started to play with fabric and lace again!

"No occupation is as delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
and no culture comparable to that of the garden."
~Thomas Jefferson~

Sunday, March 13, 2011


God can do everything, that's true,
but if nothing bad happened in our lives,
we might get the idea that we didn't need him . . .
He lets life happen and sometimes what we think is a burden is really a blessing.
~Lori Copeland~

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Doors Closing, Windows Opening

When a door closes, a window opens.
~Dutch Proverb~

Five years ago, I opened the doors to BessieMary.
It was a little shop, named after my grandmother and mother, specializing in fabric and supplies for heirloom sewing and smocking.
It also stocked various gifts, especially sweet little baby things.
Now, the lease has expired.

I will begin moving the merchandise to an unused portion of our home, from which I will continue to run the  website of BessieMary.

Over a year ago, I decided not to renew the lease in this location.
My plan was to move the store to a different location; one closer to more of my customers.
However, recent health issues, the possibility of additional eye surgery later this year, a longer commute for me and ever increasing gasoline prices have caused me to reconsider.

I have experienced every emotion.
I have cried, I have breathed huge sighs of relief, I have laid awake at night thinking, and I have pulled the covers over my head and just wanted to hide.

For five years, I have spent more time within these four walls, than anywhere else.
Actually, if you count the months spent renovating, it is more like 5 years and 6 months!
My days often started much earlier than opening time, and extended well past closing time.

It will seem odd, not to hop in the car and head this direction.

But, I think my little people and I may soon appreciate the slower pace.

There might even be moments for me to sit down!

Or, maybe I will set up the cute little cherry covered cabana from my classroom and play, just like so many customers' children over the years!

I hope there will also be more time to spend sewing and creating.
There is a major misconception that shop owners can easily pull fabric from the shelves, lace from the drawers, and while away the day stitching.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Just want to clear that up!

I have truly loved playing in my shop, greeting customers, and making friends.
Hopefully, they also enjoyed spending time there.

I tried to make it an inviting place,

an inspiring place,

with a touch of sweetness,

a dash of whimsey,

and a sense of humor.

For just a moment, I hope time did stand still and my guests did a little daydreaming.

BessieMary may no longer be a brick and mortar store, and I may no longer stand behind this counter.
I do hope to continue encouraging, inspiring and helping others to make stitching dreams come true, through this blog and BessieMary's website.
Maybe someday, the doors will reopen, and we will once again meet across this counter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tiptoe through . . .

the tulips!

The tulips are blooming in my yard!
May there be a sign of Spring in your corner of the world, too!

Spring is nature's way of saying,
"Let's party!"
~Robin Williams~

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Thousand Gifts Goes to . . . .

Comment #18 from Linwood & Margaret!
Margaret, I will be emailing you to obtain a mailing address.

Thank you so very much for all the kind and encouraging comments.
I have said before, and probably will say many more times, that God's timing is perfect.

This past week involved making difficult decisions.
Reading many of your comments lifted and will continue to carry me through these days.
I am fine physically, just weary.

A few days of stitching, milkshakes and cupcakes will make all right and bright again!
See you soon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


"This earthly life is a battle," said Ma.
"If it isn't one thing to contend with, it's another . . .
The sooner you make up your mind to that, the better off you are,
and the more thankful for your pleasures."
~Laura Ingalls Wilder~

Thursday, March 3, 2011


One year ago, this blog began.
Little did I know what the year would involve!

I had just completed what I thought was a difficult year of health issues.  During that time, I realized how much I missed various things in my life.
For several years, I had devoted almost every hour of my days to my little shop that specializes in fabric and supplies for heirloom sewing and smocking.
Don't get me wrong.  I love that part of my life.

This blog was to be a venue for sharing not only my love of sewing, but some of my other passions.

Never did I dream that so many posts would contain medical terms, nor that they would describe me.
God works in mysterious ways.
Maybe he knew that I would need prayers, encouragement and diversion.

As is often true in life, I feel that I have gained more than I have given.
So, thank you for coming to read once in awhile.
Thank you for leaving comments and asking questions.
Thank you for overlooking the days, and sometimes weeks, that I did not post.
Thank you for so many things.

Several weeks ago, I began reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
You have probably seen her best selling book, or related video, making its way around blogland.
Ms. Voskamp discovered that in giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she always wanted.

I have always believed not all of life's gifts magically appear on holidays and birthdays.
They do not all come wrapped in shiny paper and tied with glorious bows.
Sometimes what we think is the mundane, is really priceless.
Sometimes what we think are tragedies, are actually gifts.
It all depends on how we look at it.
Even a disease and wonky eyes can be a blessing, in ways I never guessed.
A simple blog can link us in ways I never imagined, and for which I am so grateful.

A copy of One Thousand Gifts is my gift to one dear reader.
Leave a comment on this post, and you will be entered.
Please be sure that your profile contains a contact email, or leave your email within your comment.
Unfortunately, I am only able to mail to addresses within the United States.
Eligible comments will be accepted until 10pm Saturday
The recipient will be announced on Monday.

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